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Semester Abroad in Ecuador

The Basilica, a landmark cathedral (whose gargoyles are all shaped like different Ecuadorian animals GAIAS: Butterfly with transparent wings! GAIAS: Magnificent rock formations out on the ocean. Doing a back bend in Canoa Hiking with the Oregon group in Salasaka Land Tortoise My family Oregon group in traditional garb at Salasaka, Ecuador Snorkeling in Galapagos Swing off the edge of the world

Almost every person living in the Galapagos Islands is aware of their fragile environment in which they live in and they respect nature and other living organisms. Living in the Galapagos Islands for 3 months was truly a blessing, and an amazing opportunity. I cannot wait to return.
Joey Gale ‘14


In cooperation with the Oregon University System, Linfield College provides an opportunity for students to spend a semester either at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito or at the university's center in the Galapagos Islands' the Galapagos Academic Institute for the Arts and Sciences.

Ecuador, with a population of 13 million (a majority being a mixture of indigenous and Spanish peoples), and bordering with Colombia and Peru, offers a unique topographic diversity from the jungle to the mountains (the highest volcano, Chimborazo stands at 6310 meters), the coast, and the Galapagos, 600 miles west of the mainland. Ecuador has more active volcanoes, as well as a greater diversity of volcanoes than any other country in the world. Quito, with a population of 1.2 million (other principal cities being Guayaquil and Cuenca) is located in the province of Pichincha in the north. The Galapagos, a national protectorate declared a World Heritage by UNESCO, is mostly a National Park offering a life-time wildlife experience for visitors and a natural learning laboratory for scientists and ecologists.

The Universidad San Francisco de Quito provides unique opportunities for integration into regular classes of the university (all taught in Spanish) with Ecuadorian and international students. USFQ is a private, non-denominational liberal arts institution of 3500 undergraduates, including 700 international students. Because of its state of the art laboratory facilities, Linfield encourages science majors to consider this program as a way to integrate international study into their science curriculum. It provides excellent support for students who wish to enhance their Spanish proficiency while at the same time taking classes from the university's regular curriculum. Two years of college-level Spanish is required prior to study at USFQ. (

The Galapagos Academic Institute for the Arts and Sciences is situated in a newly renovated airy and spacious facility of USFQ overlooking the bay of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital city of the Galapagos Archipelago on the island of San Cristobal. Even though instruction at the institute is in English, Linfield requires one year of Spanish for participants so that they can appreciate the local community more fully and engage in cultural activities.  Semester-long courses are offered in Human Ecology and Marine Communities, Evolutionary Biology, Native and Introduced Plants, Population Ecology and Marine Life. Each program consists of five intensive courses, all taught in three-week modules and worth 3-credits each. Upon their arrival, students will study at the USFQ’s main campus in Quito where they will take their first module. They spend the remainder of the semester to complete four modules at the GAIAS campus in the Island of San Cristobal, Galapagos.

Students are encouraged to engage in community service as part of their study at the GAIAS in such areas as pest control, waste management, introduced species control, in day care centers and in local schools. (

Organized field trips and cultural activities supplement coursework in both Quito and the Galapagos


Fall (end of August to mid-Dec.) or spring (beginning of January to mid-May) semesters, or students majoring in Spanish may elect to stay the full academic year in Quito.


University courses.

Selection Criterium:

A minimum of 2.75 GPA is required for Quito or Galapagos and sophomore standing for both.

QUITO: All participants are required to take or audit the appropriate level of Spanish in the semester directly preceding their study abroad in Quito, Ecuador.

GAIAS: There are several tracks of study: For students applying to the "Evolution, Ecology & Conservation in Galapagos" or "Marine Ecology" programs, one course each in general biology and ecology is required. For "People, Politics and the Environment in the Galapagos", one year of Spanish is required and Spanish language skills at an intermediate-level are highly recommended.  Check our their website for more details.

Language Prerequisites

At the time of application, two years of college level Spanish is required to study at USFQ in Quito and one year to study at the GAIAS.


In Quito, participants live with families and share all meals with them. At the GAIAS center, students choose to live either at the institute or with families arranged by the university.

Other Information

Email a Linfield student who participated in this program:

Download PDF of Program Brochure

Galapagos and Quito, Ecuador Orientation Packet

Orientation: Participants to both programs must attend mandatory pre-departure orientations organized by Linfield (in March) and by the Oregon University System (May for fall; and November for spring).


Universidad San Francisco de Quito

The Galapagos Academy Institute for the Arts and Sciences